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The growing tensions between Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta (and his fragile coalition) and Matteo Renzi – the head of parliament’s largest (center-left Democratic) party are intensifyingthis morning. Calls for Letta’s resignation, sparked by a junior coalition party head “hoping he was ready to step down,” have escalated into more open speculation that the Italian government could collapse within days. Following the failure today of a ‘strategy meeting’ with center-right coalition partners, Renzi’s pro-job-creation and electoral law reforms agenda is gaining consensus. While Letta has stated he will move ahead with his government (and address the public later today), Renzi warned, via Twitter, that he will talk tomorrow afternoon on the way forward.
An old-fashioned power struggle between Enrico Letta, an Italian prime minister heading a fragile coalition, and Matteo Renzi, the new reformist leader of their centre-left Democratic party, has exploded into the open, triggering intense speculation that the country could have a new government in a matter of days.
Mr Letta, who came to office last April after elections a year ago resulted in a hung parliament, has dismissed reports that he intended to resign.
The new pact discussions that were promised have failed…
*ITALY PM LETTA, RENZI FAILED TO REACH ACCORD ON STRATEGY: ANSA
Ansa says positions of PD Chief Renzi, Italy PM remain distant.
“I don’t think that everyone pushing for a hand from Letta to Renzi are motivated by good intentions. Some of them are just looking for a way to burn Matteo,” Debora Serracchiani, governor of the Friuli region and a close ally of Mr Renzi, told La Repubblica, a centre-left daily.
But then damage control kicked in…
*LETTA, RENZI MEETING WAS POSITIVE: ANSA CITING PD OFFICIALS
*RENZI SAYS HE WON’T SPEAK BEFORE 3PM TMRW LOCAL TIME
*LETTA WILL SAY THAT HE INTENDS TO MOVE AHEAD WITH GOVT: ANSA
What happens next…
Giorgio Napolitano, the 88-year-old head of state with constitutional powers to dissolve parliament and nominate a prime minister, could ask Mr Renzi to form a new government – possibly as early as this weekend – rather than call snap elections.
Mr Napolitano met Mr Renzi for two hours on Monday night and then Mr Letta on Tuesday morning. According to media reports, Mr Napolitano expressed his opposition to calling elections – in part because parliament is in the midst of debating a new electoral law – and discussed the possibility of Mr Renzi taking the helm.
“With Renzi we would be at the third prime minister who has not been appointed through a people’s vote. It can once be about emergency, or a gun’s to one head . . . but nobody believes it any more when it’s three times in a row,” Mr Brunetta said, calling for elections.
But markets don’t care…
Italy’s chronic political instability has been an impediment to moving ahead with economic reforms, deeply troubling the European Commission and the country’s eurozone partners. But in contrast to the events of 2011, the country’s complex power struggles have been largely ignored by financial markets.
The reaction by investors in Italy was relatively muted on Wednesday morning in reaction to the political events.
In fact, at +4.75%, the Italian stock market is among the best in Europe this year as Italian bond yields press new 8 year lows. Get back to work Mr. Draghi.
Anti-austerity protesters in Rome threw eggs and firecrackers at the Finance Ministry during a march Saturday to oppose cuts to welfare programs and a shortage in low-income housing. Police said 11 people were detained.
More than 4,000 riot police were dispatched to maintain order as some 25,000 protesters marched through the capital on Saturday. There were moments of tension when demonstrators passed near the headquarters of an extreme-right group, but police intervened when a few bottles were thrown.
Later, demonstrators threw eggs, firecrackers and smoke bombs outside the Finance Ministry. Police reacted by dispersing the protesters, detaining 11 of the demonstrators. There were no reports of injuries.
Ahead of the march police detained some anarchists believed to pose a security threat.
The protests were accompanied Friday by a 24-hour nationwide strike that caused disruptions for travellers. Train service was guaranteed in most cities for morning and evening commutes, but airports in Rome, Naples, Milan and Bologna had to cancel some flights. Some school and health workers also went on strike.
The USB and COBAS unions organized Friday’s strike to protest austerity measures reducing transportation budgets. USB union co-ordinator Pierpaolo Leonardi accused the Italian government of imposing EU directives without concern for the impact on workers.
A smaller protest of about 600 workers was held in Milan.
- PHOTOS: Anti-austerity protest rips through Rome (photos.denverpost.com)
- Anti-austerity protesters throw eggs, firecrackers outside Finance Ministry in Rome (globalnews.ca)
- Italian anti-austerity protesters clash with police (scooprocket.com)
- Tens of thousands clash with Italian police in anti-austerity protests (theglobeandmail.com)
- Italian protesters take on police during mass march against austerity budget (PHOTOS) (giftoftruth.wordpress.com)
With everyone focused on the US government, and whether or not it would remain open past Monday, the real stunner has once again emerged out of left field, in this case Italy, where as Italian news agency Ansa reported moments ago, the ministers in Berlusconi’s PDL party have followed through on their threats announced earlier this week, and have resigned.
- BERLUSCONI’S PDL MINISTERS RESIGN, ANSA SAYS CITING ALFANO
- BERLUSCONI ALLIES OFFER RESIGNATIONS FROM LETTA CABINET: ALFANO
- Berlusconi Says PDL Ministers Should Offer Resignation: Ansa
- BERLUSCONI SAYS LETTA’S ULTIMATUM UNACCEPTABLE: ANSA
- Berlusconi ministers ‘resign posts’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Italy: Ministers of Berlusconi’s party resign (euronews.com)
- Crisis as Berlusconi ministers resign (bigpondnews.com)
- Italy coalition government on brink (bigpondnews.com)
- Spanish, Italian stocks bask in euro zone growth halo (uk.reuters.com)
- GLOBAL MARKETS-Bonds rally on weak U.S. data; Italian markets down (uk.reuters.com)
- Silvio Berlusconi Is Holding Italy Hostage (businessinsider.com)
Political Assassination Prevented In Rome As Unemployed Man Tries To Kill Politicians, Police Shoot Out Ensues | Zero Hedge
- Failed suicide-by-cop gunfight in Rome mars govt’s inauguration (trunewsmedia.wordpress.com)
- Police officers shot as new Italian Government sworn in (itv.com)
- Gunman held in Rome police shooting (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- UK & World News: Gunman held in Rome police shooting (journallive.co.uk)
- National News: Gunman held in Rome police shooting (coventrytelegraph.net)
- Two police officers shot as Italian government sworn in – Reuters UK (uk.reuters.com)
- 2 Italian Police Shot While New Premier Sworn In (huffingtonpost.com)
- UK News: Gunman held in Rome police shooting (birminghampost.net)